Blueberries can provide benefits for cancer patients

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Written by Alison Hammond, a dietetic intern at UK Markey Cancer Center.

While being treated for or recovering from cancer, proper nutrition is very important. Including a variety of nutritious foods in your diet supplies the body with vitamins and minerals it needs throughout treatment plans. 

One nutritional powerhouse that can benefit cancer patients is blueberries, which are full of fiber and vitamin C. Blueberries are also great antioxidants because they contain anthocyanins. 

What exactly is an anthocyanin? It is a blue, violet, or red pigment found in a variety of plants including berries, cherries, red onion, kidney beans, and grapes. Several studies of the impact of anthocyanins have shown great health benefits. Anthcyanins have been proven to boost general health by providing a variety of nutrients and antioxidants which may aid in preventing many comorbidities.

Check out this article from the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) for more information.

Berries are a popular source of anthocyanins and, lucky for us, they are plentiful in the spring and summer months. They can be added to desserts, oatmeal, smoothies, pancakes, and a variety of pastry items. Here in Kentucky we love our cornbread, so here is an interesting spin on the beloved dish that provides added health benefits!

Easy Blueberry Cornbread 

-    1.5 cups cornmeal
-    1 cup flour
-    ½ cup whole wheat flour 
-    3 tsp baking powder
-    1.5 tsp salt 
-    ½ cup unsalted butter
-    ½ cup plain Greek yogurt 
-    ¾ cup milk
-    ½ cup honey 
-    3 eggs
-    2 cups fresh blueberries 

1. Preheat oven to 375 F; grease a cast iron skillet.
2. In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients (cornmeal, flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt). 
3. Melt butter and honey. Whisk all wet ingredients together along with butter and honey. 
4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, mix. 
5. Fold in fresh blueberries; pour into cast iron skillet. 
6. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. 

For additional information regarding diet and nutrition for cancer patients at UK Markey Cancer Center, please call 859-323-2798 and ask to speak with a registered dietitian. 

This content was produced by UK HealthCare Brand Strategy.